I am a very slow writer. As a result, posts tend to lag what I am currently thinking and doing.
- In 2023 we traveled to Taiwan, Japan, Costa Rica, France, Spain, UK, a variety of cities in US. Highlight was walking 500 miles of the Camino de Santiago in May. We will be in our Mountain View home until Feb 1, 2024 when we set off for another year of travel / determining next home base.
- Enjoying simplifying what I am using down to items which mostly fits in a 23l daypack.
- Thinking about building a community characterized by love. Many of the ideas below were intensified during our Camino walk. Some of the Camino lessons learned overlaps heavily such as love is the heart of everything important
Home Base? / Random Travel
We are living a semi-nomadic existence as we determine where to plant ourselves for the next season of life. Looking for a place where we have opportunities to use our gifting to contribute to the community, a vital church we can serve at, weather than is friendly to outdoor activities, and were we can afford to live. This suggests a moderate to large multi-cultural city with a good university, and the resources needed to do good design work. Extra credit for cities that don’t require a car (e.g. walkable, effective mass transit).
Mountain View will continue to be “home base” for now with us periodically returning to keep connections with our community. While we are gone, our house is used by others we found through AirBNB or HomeExchange. Everything I need has been trimmed down to an airline “personal size” bag. We spend 1 – 6 weeks in each location, often chaining the locations together before returning to Mountain View. We are mixing purely “tourist” destinations with places we are considering to be our next home base. Our approach is to “scout” locations for a week to get a sense of the place. If we liked what we saw, return for at least a month. Once we have narrowed down our list to a few locations we will pray and listen with our hearts. If there is no place that is calling us, we will spend six months in each of the cities we think would be the best and then decide where will be our new “home” base. Staying in the Bay Area is a possibility.
Places I currently favor but I am open to anywhere:
- Portland: Forest right next to a modern city. Our oldest daughter and her husband are here. Bridgetown Church. Portland has most of the energy of the Bay Area (especially young folks wanting to establish themselves) but with a better work / life balance. Across the river (Vancouver) is in Washington that doesn’t have state income tax. Downsides is the heart breaking homeless which is fraying the city and that 6 months of the year it’s fairly overcast.
- Core Bay Area: Perfect weather, great access to nature, big city resources, good opportunities to use our gifting, with many interesting people and a lot of friends. Downside is the cost of living is driving people away (watching my peers leave shortly after retirement) and that people are so busy and driven that it’s hard to build and maintain deep community.
- Santa Cruz: Connected to the Silicon Valley, but the surfer influenced community results in people being more laid back, or is it flakey.
- Santa Rosa: Midwest culture with the environment of Northern California wine country. Loved how friendly people were. We were warmly welcomed at Santa Rosa Christian Church. Rising real estate, especially since Covid is driving some long term residents out and the city is struggling a bit with homelessness.
- London: An amazing city filled with people from around the world. Love the historically preserved areas like Kensington, the rebuild South Bank, and everything in-between. Downside is that its approach Bay Area costs and there is the small matter of citizenship.
- Madrid: Mediterranean climate. Good food. Reasonably affordable. Knew some people here. Spanish spoken (which would permit Jackie more Spanish emergence. Not on my short list, it’s on Jackie’s, so it needs to be on mine.
- Lisbon: Weather, plants, etc like Bay Area (or is it the other way around). Great food. Low cost of living. Easy access to EU. Strait forward Visa system. Know several people who made this move and love it. Downsides is not speaking local language and it is far away from family and most of our friends. Not on my short list, it’s on Jackie’s, so it needs to be on mine.
I continue to believe that simplicity is an extremely powerful tools and strive to use it wherever it is appropriate. In 2023 I trimmed down the what I was using. Part of this was to simplify travel. Partly I was to see how lightly / simply I could live. I was happiest when walking the Camino using just 15l of stuff. Around mid-year I posted I list of everything I planned to use this year which is pretty close to what happened. Recently I have been thinking a lot about how there are a few simple truths which inform living a healthy and loving life.
- The heart of what allows humans to flourish. It’s where love is practiced and the environment where people grow.
- What are the ingredients that make intentional communities thrive or fail.
- Walking the camino let me witness how quickly community can form when people have time, choose kindness and vulnerability. It breaks my heart that so many people experienced community and deep acceptance for the first time while walking the camino. We need to do better.
Love supremely important
- My first post about the topic of love
- Why churches seem to forget to love in spite of it being the greatest commandment and the basis that the world should judge our faith? How to fix this? The Mark of a Christian by Francis Schaeffer has some theories. How to fight against the weaponized of religion, using it as a way to separate rather than authentic faith that calls for us bring the “other” close, to pursue true justice, care for and be compassionate toward all. Writings of Miroslav Volf seem to have some good ideas.
How people grow and mature
- Spiritual formation… living an interactive life with God such as advocated by Renovare. How to balance between the six streams of spirituality and what living out those streams might look like.
- The theory put forth by Jim Wilder that what we most need is a healthy attachment to God and other people. That effective transformation is forming attachments / forging an identity which informs our “fast” brain rather that focusing all our energy our our much slower, conscious brain.
- I have discovered that people often had no idea how much of an influence they had. Interactions which were pivotal for me were not remembered by the other person. I have also discovered that I played a pivot role in others lives and often could not remember specific interactions that meant so much to them.
- We often fail to tell people how much they mean to us. Rather than waiting til the last moments of their lives, or at a memorial service (Libby, Dad, Doug, Louie) I am striving to thank people who have had a large impact on my life while they are still healthy.
- Being grateful can defend against adaptive hedonism. It would be easy to take the Bay Area for granted. The natives I met in 1992 took the weather and natural beauty for granted. I resolved to always appreciate the area. Every day I look up and the Santa Cruz hills and thank God. I have not grown tired of doing this, and continue to be thankful.
The Nature of Second Half of Life / Retirement / Being an Elder
- Changing focus: what is pursued (Falling Upward), Types of intelligence (Strength to Strength), Āśrama, etc
- Intentional / Rhythms of Life
- Maturity as described by the life model. I love their description of an elder as someone who has matured to the point that they can act like parents-at-large for their communities
- Past content: my announcement of retiring, and some thoughts about my Midlife Reset (Part I) and (Part III)
How to have a good Healthspan
- Recovering from a frozen shoulder 🙁
- VO2max >50 in 2023. Cooper’s 12 minute test says I am above this, Garmin says below it. Time to do a real lab test.
- Find a Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS) (or equiv) trainer
- Updating my body weight exercise regiment to work with my shoulder and the lack on any equipment
- Centenarian decathlon training (inspired by Peter Attia)
- Restart learning Tai Chi once my shoulder recovers
- Improve breathing using o2trainer.
- Blood flow restriction training using kaatsu?
- Learn more about cardiac disease, get an updated lipid panel, etc
- Start jump rope and other things to improve balance
I think western protestant Christianity View of the body has been more shaped by Plato than Jesus. Desire a biblical view of living embodied life.
- The Nature of the Mind/Consciences. Who would we be if we didn’t have our bodies?
- Interface / interplay between body and soul/spirit.
- How we experience life, time seems linear… is it? How to Inhabit Time: Understanding the Past, Facing the Future, Living Faithfully Now by James K.A. Smith interesting.
- What is the mind, the soul, the heart and how does this all work.
- Biblical viewpoint: eternity is in bodies and physical space
- Embodied Intellegence? Quantum Consciousness? Mind’s perception and Wolfram’s ruliad.
- Are in someone else’s simulation? I think not, but exploring it should be interesting.
- Incarnational Tradition: the sacramental life
Technology & Business
- After using Evernote since 2009 with thousands on notes I have finally given up on it. Thought it might be OneNote, but ended up in Bear because tagging is better, good export capabilities, the UI is better, more natural to use on Apple products, and end2end encryption. I will later investigate obsidian.
- Help friend develop a SecDevOps leadership curriculum for his university and write of some of the lessons I have learned for this blog.
- Better integration between audio notes, automatic transcription, an Bear documents